ISAO COVID-19 Updates

UMKC continues to work hard to make decisions and accommodations to be able to keep campus open and maintain in-person functions with the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff in mind. Get the most recent UMKC Campus updates here.

We know your needs as international students are made more complex by visa regulations and for some, travel. Please explore the information below for updates related to ISAO services and questions you may have regarding the impact of COVID-19 on your enrollment at UMKC as an international student.

How to Receive Services from ISAO Updated January 29, 2021

UMKC’s campus and the ISAO office are physically open.

ISAO offers limited in-person services:

  • Document pick-up services (Monday, Wednesday and Friday 2-4pm)
  • Provisional Hold Document Submission (by appointment only – email

Submitting documents to ISAO

  • ISAO utilizes Pathway’s Secure File Upload (also referred to as the Secure Document Uploader) function to allow students to securely submit most documents and request forms
  • We will not accept paper documents/request forms submitted to ISAO, with the exception of official documents needed for a provisional hold. Please use the Secure File Upload tool within Pathway to submit your documents or request forms to our office
    • All OPT and CPT applications will need to be sent to our office via email to at this time

Phone Services:

We continue to experience an increase in phone calls that may not allow us to answer each call, as we are on another line with a student. If you call and leave a voicemail message, please be sure to leave us your full name and ID number slowly and clearly so that our team can find your email address and reply to your questions via email. Phones are answered Monday through Friday, 8am to 5pm.

Advising Appointments

  • “Walk-In” Zoom Advising (Tuesdays 2-3pm, Thursdays 10-11am)
    • For quick questions that can typically be answered in 10 minutes or less
  • 1 to 1 Advising Appointments:
    • For complex questions, requiring additional time, please send an appointment request by email to and we will get your appointment scheduled with an advisor.

F-1 Status and Online Classes Updated January 29, 2021

On Wednesday, December 9th, released SEVP  guidelines for F-1 students for the spring semester, stating the original March 2020 guidance would remain in place. It is as follows:

Continuing F-1 students currently inside the U.S.
If you were in valid F-1 status in the spring 2020 semester and are continuing your studies in active F-1 status, you will be not be restricted in the number of online courses you can enroll in for full-time enrollment consideration.

  • This means you can take any combination of classroom based, blended, or online coursework, including a course load of 100% online coursework.
  • Full-time enrollment is still required in order to maintain F-1 status:
    • 12 hours for undergraduate and ALI students
    • 9 hours for graduate and doctoral students
    • An FTE Form can be submitted for under-enrollment as long as you are eligible for one of the reasons listed on the FTE form

Continuing F-1 students who are outside the U.S.
If you were in valid F-1 status in the spring 2020 semester but are currently unable to return to the U.S., you may maintain your F-1 visa status this fall as long as you meet the following two requirements:

  • You must be enrolled full-time for the semester:
    • 12 hours for undergraduate and ALI students
    • 9 hours for graduate and doctoral students
    • An FTE Form can be submitted for under-enrollment as long as you are eligible for one of the reasons listed on the FTE form
  • You must obtain an updated I-20 which includes the following statement in the remarks:
    “Outside the United States due to COVID-19”

    • Please submit a Request for Documents noting your intent to study full-time outside the U.S. this fall as your reason for requesting an updated I-20 in order to receive this updated document

The ISAO Advising team will keep you updated regarding any SEVP announcements or changes.

Potential Mid-Semester Changes to Courses Updated January 29, 2021

UMKC is aware of the need to remain flexible and adaptable throughout the semester. All coursework, regardless of format (in person, blended/hybrid, or online) should have all necessarily elements of the course available online, including but not limited to lectures, assignments, and final exams.

While we hope that campus will remain open for the entirety of the semester, we also hope students have everything they need in place in a digital format to be successful with academic coursework on campus, as well as from home.

Receiving a New I-20 Updated January 29, 2021

ISAO has resumed limited in-office services, which include the option of picking up documents in person (Monday, Wednesday and Friday 2-4pm).

SEVP has announced they will permit universities to send I-20 documents digitally. When you request an I-20 for any reason, we will send you your I-20 by email to your UMKC email account once the I-20 has been prepared.

 Please note that we still highly recommend that you request your hard-copy original I-20 in the following situations:

  • If you requested a travel endorsement signature on your I-20
  • If you have added an F-2 dependent to your immigration record

Travel Outside of the US Updated January 29, 2021

This is a difficult time for anyone to travel anywhere in the world, but there are some extra considerations for international students needing to travel:

Will your visa expire soon (within the next 6 months)? If so, you should have a plan in place for requesting an extension or renewal of your visa before attempting to return to the US.

 Do you have a travel endorsement signature on your I-20? This is located on the 2nd page of your I-20 and is valid for 6 months while you are a current student. If you don’t have a signature, or if your signature has expired, reach out to ISAO and we will send you a Travel Endorsement Request form.

 Have you talked with your academic advisor about your ability to travel? We recommend doing this so that if you are unable to return to the US, you can create a plan for continued enrollment. ISAO is aware of the difficulty many students are facing in trying to schedule flights to return to Kansas City for the fall semester. You may be able to work with your academic advisor to create a schedule of online courses and plan to travel back to Kansas City for the spring semester.

As of January 26, 2021, per CDC guidelines, you will need a negative COVID test within 3 days of boarding a flight to the US. Be prepared prior to return to provide documented test results meeting the 3 day time frame or other documents related to proof of having recovered from having had COVID-19 for yourself and any dependents you are traveling with over the age of 2. Currently, this requirement is in place through the end of 2021 or when COVID is deemed to no longer be a public health emergency.

Return to Campus from Abroad and Self-Quarantine Updated January 29, 2021

Have you planned your travel dates to allow for a 14 day quarantine upon arrival?

UMKC is encouraging students to follow CDC guidelines and self-quarantine for 14 days after international travel if returning the the US from abroad. In order to begin classes on time, we recommend arriving in Kansas City at least two weeks prior to the start of classes to allow time for self-quarantine.

Contact Tracing: We understand that upon arrival you may have tasks to complete to meet your living needs prior to beginning self-quarantine. It may be helpful to record the date, time and location of your errands should you or others traveling with you test positive for COVID-19.

Useful resources for grocery and food delivery include:

Hyvee Delivery (grocery)
Walmart Delivery (grocery and home supplies)
Instacart (grocery)
Shipt (grocery)
Ubereats (restaurant)
Doordash (restaurant)
Grubhub (restaurant)
Amazon may also have some non-perishable groceries and household supplies with one or two day delivery.

Health Insurance Updated January 29, 2021

F-1 and J-1 students enrolled at UMKC are enrolled in Aetna’s Student Health plan. Aetna has developed their own COVID-19 page for people insured by their plans, which outlines the additional coverage they are offering to members at this time.

They are specifically encouraging members to take advantage of their telemedicine option as a first line of defense if you feel sick and think you need to see a doctor. This option is available to Aetna members free until January 31, 2021. More information about this option and other guidance from Aetna can be found here.